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How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Adult beet leafhopper.


Beet Leafhopper

Scientific name: Circulifer tenellus

(Reviewed 1/08, updated 1/08)

In this Guideline:


Adult beet leafhoppers are 0.12 inch (3 mm) in length, pale green to tan in color, and may have dark markings.


While some damage is caused by nymphal and adult feeding, the most serious problem is the viral disease, curly top, that is vectored by beet leafhoppers. Infected plants turn yellow and stop growing. Leaves roll upward and turn purplish in color. Leaves and stems become stiff. Spring plantings are the most susceptible. The insect migrates from overwintering hosts in the foothills and is mostly a problem on the west side of San Joaquin Valley.


The California Department of Food and Agriculture surveys populations of beet leafhoppers in foothill breeding areas each year and sprays when necessary to prevent leafhoppers from migrating into crops. Insecticides applied to infested fields to control beet leafhopper and reduce the spread of curly top virus may prevent some in-field spread, although infected plants will not recover. In areas that are at annual risk of this insect, application of a systematic insecticide may have some impact. Beet leafhopper populations are greatest in years with rainfall that promotes growth of its weed hosts in the foothills.

Common name Amount/Acre** R.E.I.+ P.H.I.+
(trade name)   (hours) (days)

  Calculate impact of pesticide on air quality
The following materials are listed in order of usefulness in an IPM program, taking into account efficacy and impact on natural enemies and honey bees. When choosing a pesticide, also consider information relating to environmental impact. Not all registered pesticides are listed. Always read label of product being used.
  (Admire Pro) 7–10.5 fl oz 12 21
  COMMENTS: Can be used preventively as a systemic in areas with chronic infestations. Apply as a sidedress within 4 inches on either side of plants and incorporate to a depth of 2–3 inches. Treat at first bloom up to 8 weeks before harvest. Apply sufficient water following application to move into the root zone of the plant. Can also be applied in drip or trickle irrigation water.
  (Venom) 20SG 1–4 oz 12 1
  COMMENTS: Apply in higher volume applications at 20 gpa. Do not apply to cherry or grape tomatoes or to any variety with fruit less than 2 inches in diameter.
  (Sevin) 80S 0.66–1.25 lb 12 3
  COMMENTS: Will also control hornworm, fruitworm, and armyworm. Do not use if psyllids are in the field as carbamates tend to promote development of their populations.
**  See label for dilution rates.
+ Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (P.H.I.) is the number of days from treatment until harvest can take place. In some cases the R.E.I. exceeds the P.H.I. The longer of these two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest may take place.
* Permit required from county agricultural commissioner for purchase or use.
^ Do not apply when bees are present.
1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B Group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode of action Group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee). For additional information, see their Web site at http://www.irac-online.org/.



[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Tomato
UC ANR Publication 3470
Insects and Mites
F. G. Zalom, Entomology, UC Davis
J. T. Trumble, Entomology, UC Riverside
C. F. Fouche, UC Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County
C. G. Summers, Entomology, UC Davis/Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
Acknowledgments for contributions to the insects and mites section:
N. C. Toscano, Entomology, UC Riverside

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